Why Does My Heater Smell Like It’s Burning?

Why Does My Heater Smell Like It's Burning?

One of the most common questions our heating technicians are asked is, “Why does my heater smell like it’s burning?” And while the aroma isn’t pleasant, the fix is typically simple.

Clogged Filter

Often times the “burning” smell can be attributed to a dirty filter. Neglecting to clean or replace a filter can result in clogs, which cause an overworked motor. The longer a heater runs with a clogged filter, the more it will emit a burning smell until it eventually gives out. It is best to change a filter as soon as a burning smell is detected, and it is even more effective to replace a filter at the beginning of each winter season.

Sealed Vent

Trapped hot air causes a burning odor; sealing in hot air by way of closed vents is another common cause of heaters producing a burning smell. Blocking or closing vents can also begin to cause system issues, so try opening a few of the vents and moving furniture or appliances around to prevent this from occurring.

Burnt Debris

The beginning of the cold months means that dust and other particles that have been collecting on heating components are now suddenly being burned off, causing a burning smell. Although this is normal for heating systems and no damage is typically being caused, the smell should not last more than 30 minutes.

Furnace in Need of Repair

Lack of maintenance, wear and age can cause a heater to overheat. The first step may be as simple as adding oil to the motor, but an adept heating repair company should be called if applying oil does not remedy the smell.

If you’ve looked for the above culprits and are still experiencing a smell, turn your heating system off and give your Southern California HVAC technician a call (we happen to have a few!) at (833) 936-1791 or schedule an appointment online.

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